SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A University of San Diego alumna is among several women gracing the cover of Time magazine's "Person of the Year" issue, released Wednesday, as "The Silence Breakers" who spoke out about sexual violence and helped spark a worldwide movement to hold abusers accountable.
Adama Iwu, a lobbyist for Visa across the western U.S. and in the California Legislature, is joined on the cover by actress Ashley Judd, singer Taylor Swift and two other women who played integral roles in the movement.
Iwu is also the first speaker in a Time video posted on the magazine's website and social media accounts.
"Honestly I was furious," Iwu says in the video. "I had ... a man grope me in front of multiple colleagues, and I was tired of wondering if it was something I wore, I was tired of wondering if it was a vibe I gave off. And when I talked to other women, they were furious too."
Iwu, a Torero from the class of 2005, started a campaign in October that sought to give voice to sexual harassment victims in the California Legislature in an open letter signed by more than 150 lobbyists, staffers and lawmakers.
"Last week millions of Americans were shocked to learn of the behavior of billionaire mogul Harvey Weinstein. We were not," the letter starts. "This same kind of inappropriate, sexually harassing behavior cuts across every industry and facet of our society."
The letter came after several publications ran stories about sexual assault allegations against Weinstein and the MeToo hashtag began spreading worldwide, allowing other victims of sexual violence to speak out.
"We're done with this," read the letter, which ran in the Los Angeles Times along with a story about sexual violence in the state's legislature. "Each of us who signed this op-ed will no longer tolerate the perpetrators or enablers ... What now? It's time for women to speak up and share their stories."
Iwu shared her own story, saying a man "touched her inappropriately" at a political event in full view of several male colleagues who "thought it was fine" because she knew the person. She has since built on her original open letter with an organization called We Said Enough that seeks to share stories of sexual violence victims to help "drive for change and equity."
Time Editor Edward Felsenthal wrote that the magazine's leadership chose "The Silence Breakers" as their "Person of the Year" for having "unleashed one of the highest-velocity shifts in our culture since the 1960s." The reporting, editing and production of the Time video and cover story were all done by women.
In a social media post shared on the University of San Diego's main twitter account, the USD Alumni Association celebrated a "Torero on the cover" of the newsmagazine.
"Congratulations to USD alumna, Adama Iwu '05, on making the 2017 Person of the Year as a Silence Breaker, unleashing shifts in modern day culture," the alumni group tweeted.
On her own twitter account, Iwu shared the Time "Person of the Year" video and said she was "honored, excited, energized and incredibly proud of all of the women who made this happen."
A Torero on the cover of TIME Magazine!! Congratulations to USD alumna, Adama Iwu '05, on making the 2017 Person of the Year as a Silence Breaker, unleashing shifts in modern day culture. https://t.co/EuoFoZU464— USD Alumni Assoc. (@GoUSDAlumni) December 6, 2017